• Tel: 01527 543672
  • Email: info@dsluk.net
  • DSL, 2 The Court Yard, Bordesley Business Park, Dagnell End Road, Beoley Vale, Worcestershire, B98 9BH

Category : Blog

Caravan Pif 1

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Most of us couldn’t imagine living in such conditions, however, I found a man who does.

During my recent door knocking trip to the Scottish Highlands I spent quite some time looking for a croft in the middle of nowhere.

After many wrong turns into muddy tracks and tight turnarounds in derelict farm yards I eventually found the croft I was looking for, how my small car made it through without getting stuck in the mud I will never know.

At the end of a very bumpy muddy track I came across a caravan almost buried in the trees, I looked around thinking surely no one lives in there. I approached the caravan and a dog began to bark, I knocked on the door and received no reply.

When I didn’t get a reply I looked around for a letter box to place my visit letter into, there wasn’t one. I proceeded to wedge the letter into the gap between the door and the door frame.

During this time the dog inside the caravan was bouncing around and snarling at the window this allowed me to confirm someone did live in the caravan.

I drove away thinking I would never hear from the occupant and my client may never get paid.

How wrong can you be??

When I arrived at the hotel later that evening I checked my messages to discover the person who lived in the caravan had gone online and paid in full, over £300.00

There’s a lesson for everyone here – Never Judge a Book by its Cover.

Risk Management

Debt Prevention is the Best Cure

                                     Debt Prevention is the Best Cure

We live in a golden age of access to information, thanks to the internet you can find pretty-much anything you want to know using your computer, tablet, or smart phone. What’s really nice is the ability to find people that can help you achieve your goal.

Equipped with the answers to your debt problem, what does the average manager / owners do with the information?

In most cases they do the same as they did last month, last year and the year before that, hope the customer pops in and pays.

It happens because the average manager / owner believe the following reasons are somehow valid when it comes to collecting what’s owed to them.

  1. They seem nice, they will pay eventually
  2. I haven’t got time to chase customers, I’m too busy
  3. We don’t want to upset the customer
  4. They may move to another practice
  5. We phoned and sent letters, what more can we do?

The excuses detailed above are by no means complete, managers and owners tell themselves that engaging the services of a collection professional is too risky, too expensive, too time consuming and most of all to its uncomfortable to deal with. Somehow it seems easier to ask the bank to increase facilities rather than collect what’s owed to them.

What Can I Do? Answer – Introduce clear guidelines

One of your first jobs as a business owner should be to set in place a set of clear guidelines for the issue and recovery of invoices. All customers and staff should be made aware of the process of issuing and chasing invoices and this should be adhered to consistently – without fail. Don’t give second, third or fourth chances to customers – they’ll come to expect it and could end up taking advantage.

Writing your guidelines

When thinking about these rules, think carefully about your particular business. If you run a veterinary practice, for instance, you will have a number of different income streams – those who are regular customers, those who are emergencies and those who are ‘commercial’. As each type of customer arrives with entirely different sets of circumstances, each of these may be dealt with differently.

 Get your procedures right from the outset.

An example of your guidelines could be:

Emergency customers must pay in advance / at the time of treatment
• Regular on-going treatment may be completed under payment/credit terms
• All credit customers must undergo credit checks first
• All invoices must be paid within one month
• One reminder will be sent before further action is sought

Use a good T&C specialist solicitor

You should set up your terms and conditions with a specialist to ensure that they meet all the correct legal requirements. We are lucky to work with a firm who we recommend to our clients to ensure that your procedures are watertight – preventing any confusion or issues in the future. Contact dsl for further details. www.dsluk.net

Make everyone accountable

Charge one staff member with the job of looking after accounts and invoices. Having a clear person who can be the point of contact for all clients and customers is vital for giving your accounts department a “human face”. This makes it harder for there to be instances of any miscommunication or misunderstandings – as there is one person who has dealt with the entire procedure.
The ‘right’ person should be friendly and understanding, but also willing to be hard when called on to do so. If problems arise internally and you’ve followed your own procedures, there should be no issue with passing on debt to a collection agency – after all your customers know what is expected of them from the outset.

As you can see, the point we are trying to make is that everything should be laid out; clear for all to see and that it works for your business type. Hopefully this should mean fewer instances of unpaid bills.

Should you want to find out more about correct procedures or, to find out more on how we can help you, please feel free to contact us on 01527 543672 or via email mike.brooks@desluk.net

 

Information

Door Knocking Delivers

 

 

During our recent recruitment campaign we hired an experienced face to face collection officer and he has settled into the door knocking roll extremely well.

 

 

Results are impressive

Most debts selected for personal visits fall into the following categories:

No Contact following Letters, Telephone Calls, Text Messages and Emails.
• Refused to Pay
• Won’t Pay
• Can’t Pay
• Moved Away
• Passed Away
• Unresolved Dispute
• Insurance Underpayment – Excess Not Paid
• Insurance paid to pet owner rather than vet, owner spent the money, and so on.

Generally, customers ignored our client’s attempts to contact them and continued to do this when dsl became involved in the hope the debt will go away. However, when there’s a knock on the door and one of our collection officers introduces themselves and explains why they are there, reality starts to dawn and customers realise the issue needs to be dealt with. Our officers will ascertain the customers’ ability to pay and agree a sustainable way forward, after all, there’s no point in forcing someone to agree to a repayment plan they cannot stick too.

Door knocking also provides useful intelligence that can be used to make informed decisions regarding further collection or legal recovery opportunities. See a selection of scenarios detailed below.

Customer Moved Away – New occupant may have a forwarding address.
Empty Property – Estate Agent or landlord may have a forwarding address.
No One At Home When Officer Calls – Neighbours confirm moved away or verify occupancy.
Officers try to confirm if the customer goes to work, whether they are disabled, receiving benefit’s also the type and colour of vehicles they may own. [useful information if enforcement officers are involved following court action and judgment]
Customer at Home – Refused to Open the Door, occupancy confirmed by occupant or neighbour.
Type of Property Visited – Detached, Semi, Terrace, Flat.
Condition of Property – good, fair, poor, very poor.
Photograph of property along with any relevant vehicles details.

Each case is assessed and placed on the appropriate track, see options detailed below.

Payment in Full – Documented and case closed• Payment Arrangement Agreed – Details added to system and letter sent detailing the amount to be paid, frequency of payments, number of payments and how payments will be made – Debit Card, Credit Card, Pay Point, Website, DSL Payment App, Bank Transfer, Standing Order.
Gone Away – Recommend Trace. – If balance is above an agreed amount.
Gone Away – Write Off – If below the agreed amount, not cost effective to peruse.
Occupancy Confirmed – Balance above agreed amount, pass to legal department for further evaluation / legal action.

The team at DSL have been knocking doors for over 10 years and have definitely improved cash flow for our customers as a result.

Why not contact Mike Brooks on 01527 543672 or email mike.brooks@dsluk.net for a no obligation chat, it may be just what you need to improve your cash flow.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Businesswoman knocking on door

Field Based Collection Agent Required

DSL, a Redditch based Debt Recovery Agency are looking to recruit a field based Collection Agent working in a business / consumer environment.

A career with us means being part of a standout business with a clear vision and strong values. We’ll give you everything you need to do a great job and your contributions will be properly recognised, highly valued and well rewarded.

THE ROLE & YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES:

As a self-employed Collection Agent you will be working 2 to 3 days per week and responsible for the collection of overdue commercial and domestic accounts.

You will be responsible for:

• Contacting defaulters in person or by telephone to negotiate payment
• Gather intelligence regarding residency and work details
• Ensure we provide the Best Service in the Industry
• Meeting and Exceeding customer expectations
• Working to CSA and Industry Guidelines
• Reporting progress to line managers

EXPERIENCE SOUGHT IN SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES:

Ideal candidate will have at least 12 months experience as an enforcement officer or bailiff, although this is NOT a bailiff position.

Our customer base extends to the whole of the UK; therefore you will be expected to stay away overnight 1 and 2 nights per week. Hotel accommodation will be provided along with an evening meal allowance. The successful applicant will require a reliable vehicle and business insurance, the company will pay a mileage allowance along with a fixed daily retainer and commission on monies collected, average daily earning will be in the region £100.00.

Applications will be considered from exceptional candidates without collection experience but have a strong inquisitive nature and an eye for detail.

You will be a tenacious, can do person with a desire to succeed, think out of the box and want to be an important part of one of the best collection teams in the business.

You will be a strong communicator, capable of dealing with wide ranging debt values and able to provide compassion when required. This is a self-employed role with occasional Saturday work as required.

NB: As a result of the volume of applications we may be unable to respond with individual feedback. If we have not contacted you within five working days your application has been unsuccessful.

Interested, then call Mike Brooks on 01527 543672 for a no obligation informal chat.

No Employment Agency applications will be considered

Dealing-with-debt-how-to-get-it-right-from-the-start

DSL team up with Allpay & Pay Point

DSL now provides Post Office & PayPoint facilities

Redditch-based debt recovery agency DSL can now provide customers with access to almost 40,000 payment locations throughout the UK at both Post Offices and PayPoint outlets .

Access to both networks is being provided by payment specialist allpay.

The team at DSL are pleased to offer customers great flexibility when paying overdue accounts using cash or debit card at a time and location that’s convenient.”

DSL, a people centered business using technology to make life a little easier

For further details contact Mike.brooks@dsluk.net or call 01527 543672

Piggy Bank

New webinar advises how to manage client debt

The Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) has produced a new webinar on the subject of client debt management and made it available for members and non-members alike.

The 45-minute webinar: Debt Management: Prevention Is Better Than Cure is presented by Mike Brooks from veterinary-specialist debt recovery agency, dsl.

VPMA President Renay Rickard (pictured right) said: “Debt can affect any business, but, because of the role vets play as care-giver in an emotionally-based animal-owner relationship, we are particularly vulnerable. This is something that is commonly brought up by members at our regional meetings and events, and it’s a real dilemma for them how to juggle being strict with payment policies against owner expectations and misperceptions of the cost of veterinary medicine.

“This has been a very popular topic in both our regional meetings and with our webinar and we wanted to open it up to more people to help them tackle this topic in their practices. The feedback on this webinar has been very positive. Mike gives clear guidance on how to set up payment protocols that will minimise debt in such a way that maintains the client-practice relationship. There’s also information on how to recover existing debts. It makes sense to prioritise tackling this issue as if we’re not paid, then we can’t deliver the service that we are expected to, and that our patients need.

“We’re pleased to open this webinar up to all practices as a Christmas gift, and hope it will also highlight the support that is available through VPMA membership.”

The webinar can be accessed by registering here.

VetPay

We’ve launched a new mobile payment app – Vet Pay!

Introducing our new on-the-go mobile payment app, specifically created for vets-on-the-go! Next time you’re out on an appointment or dealing with an emergency you can use the app to take payment there and then. It will take a couple of minutes to complete the transaction. Customers can pay via credit or debit card and you know instantly whether the payment has been accepted or declined. Click here to request access to the app.

We understand it’s not always easy to deal with financial matters when you’re trying to save an animal’s life. With that in mind the Team at DSL have created something we believe will help. As a vet it will make your life easier and improve cash flow at the same time! Our app creates you a win-win situation.

The app is free to download and it only takes a couple of seconds to complete the download. You can download the app now by clicking Android or iOS (Apple).

To complete setup of the app please speak to DSL, request more information or for any other general enquires please call the team on 01527543672 or email Mike Brooks

Would the app not suit your business? Do you have a payment problem the app could help you solve? Talk to us! We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help reduce debt / implement good practice. Whether you are an existing DSL customer or not, get in touch

purse-388998_1920

Dealing with Business Debt Series – Part 3 – Action

Dealing with Debt Series – Part Three: Action

As a business owner, the first time a customer fails to pay and you realise you need to take action, it is a scary and worrying time. But it needn’t be. Hopefully you have already put in place the right procedures and communicated these to your customer. Now all you need to do is follow through on those steps.

purse-388998_1920

Reasons why you may have to take action on debt

This is pretty simple – your customer has failed to adhere to the rules you have in place for payment of your invoice or terms of credit. This may mean they have missed one or more regular payments, they have ignored your invoice or they have called to tell you that they cannot pay.

What to do next

Just follow the procedures you have in place, depending on the type of debt that now exists. Your action could take the following approach:

        A phone call to the customer to remind them of payment after a set time has passed. Try to take payment over the phone if possible.

Keep it informal at this stage.

        A strongly worded letter reminding them of your rules and the consequences of not paying. This should include all details of the debt, when it was due and a reminder that they have been contacted previously.

Make sure they know how much to pay and when.

      This action could include passing the debt to a collection agency or getting a solicitor involved.
      You can make a claim via the County Court Money Online service, this option should be your last resort as the consquences can be servre and have a long lasting effoct effect on your customer,see my blog, 6 ways the court can help collect money owed to you.

If your customer has called to tell you they cannot pay, they should be placed on a different ‘pathway’ that may include different payment terms over a longer period of time, it’s your choice.

Avoiding future action

As soon as your customer is late with payment, you need to decide how you will deal with the customer in the future. A late payment may simply mean no credit terms or payment upon completeion of service.

Failure to pay could, quite justifiably, mean that you insist on payment before any additional service is offered. Or perhaps you will decide never to deal with the customer again. This is very much situation dependent, however, with the right approach, taking action on money owed early can lead to improved cash flow and repeat business. Whatever you do, if you follow the steps we’ve outlined throughout this series at least you know you have done the right thing at every stage – because you were prepared.

Should you want to find out more about correct procedures or, to find out more on how we can help, please feel free to contact us.

Kind Regards,

Mike Brooks

Director at Debt Solve UK Ltd T/A as DSL.